Investing in a copywriter is a BIG DEAL.
Especially when the cost to outsource copywriting services and hiring a solid direct response writer can eat up a large chunk of your potential profit margins BEFORE you’ve made a single sale. (Conversion copywriters ain’t cheap).
Most online entrepreneurs know that without killer copy the chances of converting leads into buyers is smaller than spotting Elvis drinking a pint with a leprechaun. But here’s what often happens…
They begin the hiring process to find the ‘perfect’ copywriter for their business. They sign them up. They get excited that they’re finally going to see the conversions they’ve been waiting for. But then they’re not sure what to do to outsource their project in the most effective way.
There’s no strategy, no goals, poor communication…which all leads to a sucky relationship and disappointment on both sides of the deal.
Now when it comes to marketing there’s no such thing as a sure-fire campaign. But when you’ve committed to investing your hard-earned cash on done-for-you copy, you want to do whatever it takes to make the relationship a roaring success.
As a direct response copywriter, I’ve been part of many great projects and an equal number of terrible projects that created high-stress and poor results. So I’ve taken the best bits of those awesome projects and broken them down into these 7 Stress-Free Ways to Outsource to a Copywriter to Maximise Your ROI.
1) Set realistic deadlines upfront
There’s nothing worse than diving into a project and being told that the goalposts have moved. The deadline you thought you were working toward has been brought way forwards.
Most copywriters are natural empaths, who love to make their clients happy. Which means we have a tendency to say “Yes” to everything EVEN if we’re worried that it’s not going to get you the best results.
Knowing that about your writer will help you avoid pushing them to hit deadlines via all-night writing binges and unhealthy doses of caffeine. If you want to get the best writing from your copywriter, be clear from the outset what the timeframe is to complete your project. If necessary, invite them to push back and tell you whether or not it’s achievable.
When you outsource copywriting services, trust their expertise because they know how long it takes to write a winning piece of copy. (It’s probably going to take longer than you think).
2) You have a proven product or service offering
One mistake business owners sometimes make is to invest a tonne of money on a copywriter to sell a product they’re not sure anybody EVEN wants. Or to pitch an offer at a price point the market won’t tolerate.
Marketing is a process of trial and error. You’re right to expect a testing period where you try different ideas to see what resonates and converts best for your audience. But the worst thing you can do is test out copy for a product or service that’s unproven in the market.
That’s because there’s only so much magic you can squeeze out of a great sales page. You could have the best copy in the world, but if your prospects don’t want your product at the price you’re asking, a piece of copy isn’t going to bring you any sales.
So, before you pay a penny to a copywriter, make sure you have a product with proven sales at the price point you’ve chosen.
3) Set achievable goals based on your audience size and engagement
Great direct response copy is a FIXED COST. No matter how many units of your product or service you sell it’s still going to cost you the same amount. (Unless your copywriter is happy to accept a revenue or profit share arrangement).
Sell one unit and your copy might cost £2,000. Sell 2,000 units and your copy will still cost £2,000. Obviously, you want your cost per unit to be WAAAAAAY down in order to make the relationship a profitable one. Which means you need the potential to make a lot of sales.
There are two main (non-copy) factors that affect the number of sales you make:
- Audience size – Conversions are usually calculated on a percentage basis (around 1-2% on average). So naturally, a bigger audience = more sales. If you have an audience of 200 people, you’ll probably only make a handful of sales which means hiring a copywriter is unlikely to be a profitable investment.
- Audience engagement – You’re far more likely to achieve solid conversions if you’ve already done some work to engage your audience. If you’ve been ignoring your list for months OR you have no authority content to back-up your expertise, it’s going to have an impact on your ability to make sales…regardless of how big your audience is. So, if you have an un-engaged audience, make sure you invest your time and energy in building relationships with your prospects BEFORE you hire a copywriter to write your sales copy.
So, be realistic about how big and how engaged your audience is. That way, you won’t be disappointed when the sales figures roll in and you haven’t hit the conversions you were hoping for.
4) Communicate your needs and objectives clearly
One of the biggest frustrations remote and out-sourced workers face (in any industry) is poor communication. Not knowing what your client wants makes it impossible to deliver a great result.
I remember working with one client, who went on holiday the week before her launch. During that time I was waiting for feedback on her email launch sequence, so I could make any adjustments she needed to see. For the entire week her phone was off.
She was 100% out of contact. Now, I respect every entrepreneur’s need to switch off and not respond to email. But if you expect great copy from a recently-hired writer, you’ve got to be on hand to give directions AND provide constructive feedback.
Copywriters can be sensitive souls but we thrive on feedback and achieving winning results. It’s one of the reasons we’re so drawn to conversion copy. That feedback loop is vital for our sanity and our ability to deliver awesome work.
5) Give your copywriter the resources they need
In the time since starting my freelance copywriting business, I’ve noticed a Micro-Management Spectrum. There are those clients who want to off-load their project and not think about it again, until they’re totting up their revenue numbers.
OR there are those who want to control every tiny aspect of the project in minute detail (I’ll talk about those people in point No.6).
Now, working with a copywriter is a collaborative process. Sure, your copywriter could go off lone-wolf style and have a pretty good bash at writing a piece of copy for you. But it’s likely they’ll need to rely on guesswork to pull together your message. And guesswork rarely leads to great copy.
Your copywriter will want to get you on the phone to interview you about your offer and your ideal client. (If they don’t, you need to get yourself a different copywriter!). They’ll want to see surveys, testimonials and case studies if you’ve got them.
They’ll want to know about your prospects’ pain points and desires. They’ll want to find out about your closest competitors. And it’s up to you to provide them with the insights they need to guide their research as they work on your copy.
The only way to get the kind of results you want from your copy is to work together as a team. In the early stages of your relationship you copywriter needs you to help them understand your business and your market as well as you do.
6) Learn to let go
On the opposite end of the Micro-Management Spectrum, you get the business owners who struggle to let go of their copy. They know they don’t have the bandwidth to get the job done well enough, but in their heart, they don’t believe that anyone else can do the job as well as them.
So they hover. And micro-manage. Or re-write everything their copywriter has produced. WITHOUT giving any feedback. Once they’ve finished editing their copywriter’s copy, they remind themselves why they’re the only one qualified to write their own copy.
Here’s the thing…no matter how good your copywriter, it’s unlikely their work will be just as you want it straight away. They’ll need to make edits. And that’s totally OK. We WANT to make edits. We WANT you to tell us where we’ve missed the mark. We WANT you to tell us where we’ve got your voice wrong. Because we want to learn to do a better job.
Give your copywriter a chance to get better at writing for you, and they’ll very quickly prove their ability to do the job as well as (or better) than you can do it yourself.
7) Provide metrics
Once you’ve signed off your piece(s) of copy and it’s gone live into the market, it’s easy to assume that the relationship is done. Now, you may decide that you don’t need more copy from your writer in the short term but it’s a good idea to keep them in the loop about the performance of their copy.
One of the best ways for copywriters to learn, adapt and improve is to see the conversion figures on their pieces of copy. That’s because conversion figures are the best way to tell if a piece of copy is effective or not.
In a way, whether you – the client – like it the piece of copy or not is kind of irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that you’re generating sales. So, help your copywriter out by sharing your stats at the end of your campaign. That way, they’ll have direct market feedback so they can do more of what worked and less of what didn’t the next time you work together.
Deciding to outsource copywriting services is a big investment. It’s one that you want to get right, if you want to get the biggest ROI on your investment. Often, business owners know that they need to outsource to a copywriter but they have no idea how to do it well. Follow these Seven Stress-Free Ways to Outsource to a Copywriter, and you’ll be well on your way to a fruitful working relationship that leads to more sales and less anxiety.
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